Thursday, December 26, 2013

Chomicky v. Buttolph case brief

Chomicky v. Buttolph case brief summary
513 A.2d 1174 (1986)

Defendant sellers appealed from the Addison Superior Court (Vermont) judgment granting specific performance of an oral agreement to sell property to plaintiff buyers, who cross-appealed from denial of their damage claim.

The sellers owned lakeside property divided by a road. Intending to retain title to the undeveloped back lot and a strip leading to the lake, they offered the front lot and summer cottage for sale. The buyers contracted to purchase the property but the contract was contingent on the sellers obtaining a subdivision permit. The permit application was denied. Sellers advised the buyers that the deal was off. They wanted to sell the whole parcel or nothing. The buyers sued for specific performance on the oral contract allegedly concluded over the phone, wherein the sellers would retain only an easement to the lake. The buyers claimed they gave up other opportunities to acquire lakeside property in reliance on their oral agreement but they produced no evidence showing that other properties were available or how they were precluded from pursuing them. The statute of frauds precluded an award of specific performance.

The court reversed the decree of specific performance and affirmed the denial of the buyers' damages claim.

The judgment was reversed as to the decree of specific performance and affirmed as to denial of the buyers' claim for damages. The dispute was properly resolved under the statute of frauds. The buyers, not being entitled to specific performance, were not entitled to an award of damages incident thereto.

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